Last year, I visited Cahal Pech. Mr. Jorge Can was more than willing to provide information of the developments at the site. Yesterday, tour guides of the Cayo West Association and the Cayo Tour Guides Association visited the site of Xunantunich to listen to the new developments. Under the direction of Dr. Jamie Awe, the new excavations will be conducted on several buildings that have not yet been investigated and other areas that were previously excavated by Richard Levental. The areas that will be excavated and consolidated are structure A2, A3 and A20. This will certainly change the face of the site core as it is today, but I heard a rumor that the south end of el Castillo will also be done on a later project.
So we met with Mr. Jorge Can at the base of A3, where he has already done a few discoveries. In fact, he had unearthed remains of a building infront of the A3 which was built during the terminal phase likely a residence for someone just before abandonment. We see similar structure in front of A4. Today on the right side of A3 we see the round corners protruding from the earth previously consolidated in 2004, when A4 was excavated during the tourism development project. Although the A3 building had round corners, it may have been covered up by a later construction done during the post classic period. This structure did feature balustrades. We see that at Cahal Pech, Caracol, and El Castillo Building at Xunantunich also had it at the base of its stairs but it was removed because it was poorly preserved. The stairs up to the first terrace is complete, but beyond that it is missing; likely the people in the terminal phase living near the site took the bricks to build the foundation of their homes or on other projects. We see that activity all over the site. Just to the right of the balustrade there is a deposit of mostly pottery shards but certainly we can see fragments of dishes and a few vases. There is a lot of work yet to do on A3 but the the structure face is going to be excavated and consolidated. Another team will come in later to dig for tombs. What secrets will we find then and what will they find under A2 where work has not yet even started?
Excavations have also been done on the structure A20. This building had already been previously excavated but it was not consolidated. It was simply backfilled at the end of that project. Well although we loved that grassy knoll to sit on while explaining the west frieze, there is something rather awesome under it. The building has 3 rooms: one to the south, another to the west and the other to the east. The east room features 2 pillars, very likely architectural influence from the Toltecs. The rooms are believed to be a place where the maya version of the patolli maya game was played, not to be confused by the ball game. The game was played on the floor using game pieces; heavy betting was the main part of the game. Evidence of this has been found on the floor of this building. So much has been discovered, yet we are just scraching the surface. I will be following this story and keep you up to date with the latest coming out of Xunantunich.